Sat. Aug 10, 2002
Dangerous Downloaders – "U.S. lawmakers have asked Attorney General John Ashcroft to go after Internet users who download unauthorized songs and other copyrighted material, raising the possibility of jail time for digital-music fans."
Go check your hard drive real quick for any .mp3’s. Now, come back and read the above again. Yes, you could be a federal criminal target. As if that isn’t enough (and don’t you think it should be?), these 19 Congresspeople think "The Justice Department should also devote more resources to policing online copyrights, the lawmakers said in their letter."
The Justice Department that in the weeks and days leading up to 9-11 repeatedly turned down requests from the FBI for more manpower to track terrorists is now supposed to devote resources to finding out who’s downloaded the latest Britney Spears song. It’s wacky enough that you might think it was the idea of John Ashcroft himself, but he’s just the patsy in this one (though probably as willing as a labrador retriever).
” ’Such an effort is increasingly important as online theft of our nation’s creative works is a growing threat to our culture and economy,’ the letter said." Pardon my blogese, but I gotta Call Bullshit on that one. A threat to our culture and economy? A review of the headlines of the past two months can find many culprits for the title of Threat to Our Culture and Economy, from Osama to Enron, but you will not find the characters M-P-3 among them. To suggest otherwise is worthy of the front page of The Onion.
But the article itself pinpoints exactly who feels threatened, as well as the reason 19 Congresspeople are pushing this: 5 companies and their Army of Clone Lobbyists. "The move was welcomed by the Recording Industry Association of America, which represents the five major labels—Bertelsmann AG, Vivendi Universal, Sony Corp, AOL Time Warner Inc. and EMI Group Plc."
That’s the only ”economy” that might be threatened, that of five companies, and as for their ”culture,” it needs to have its status quo shattered, not sheltered.
For the record, the article lists the following 7 people as among the 19 signing the letter: Texas Republican Rep. Lamar Smith; Delaware Democratic Sen. Joseph Biden; Wisconsin Republican Rep. James Sensenbrenner; Virginia Democratic Rep. Bobby Scott; Michigan Democratic Rep. John Conyers; North Carolina Republican Rep. Howard Coble; and California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
These are the people who, in the midst of a War on Terror which has featured distinct under performance by the Justice Department, want that same Department to devote more of its resources to chasing those who download music. The recording industry’s lobbyists are better than Al Qaeda when it comes to getting attention in Congress.